Contact information

Sirpa Leppä
MD, Professor
Helsinki University Central Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center
Department of Oncology
P.O. Box 180
Haartmaninkatu 4
FI-00029 Helsinki
Biomedicum Helsinki
P.O. Box 63
Haartmaninkatu 8
University of Helsinki
FI-00014 Helsinki

Phone to lab:
+358 2941 25665
Mobile: +358-50-4270820

Email: or



Lymphoma biology and survival

Our main interest is to understand how tumor cells respond to cancer therapy. We explore molecular mechanisms behind cancer pathogenesis and therapy response, and search for biomarkers, which could be used as prognostic and/or predictive factors for treatment and survival. Furthermore, we perform clinical trials based on the generated translational data. Our cancer model is lymphoma.


Lymphomas are heterogeneous group of malignant diseases that differ significantly in occurrence, risk factors, cell of origin, and clinical behavior. Our particular focus of interest is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), which is aggressive disease that can be treated with a curative intent even when it is advanced. However, current treatments consisting of CD20 antibody in combination with CHOP-like chemotherapy may be unsuccessful and/or difficult to tolerate. About one third of the patients relapse or have a primary refractory disease, which remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Such patients could benefit from alternative therapies if their clinical outcome was more accurately predicted at the time of the diagnosis. Therefore, identification of prognostic factors, that could identify the patients with high risk of relapse, is a priority.

Our aim is to dissect molecular mechanisms behind the treatment resistance of DLBCL and to identify biomarkers that could be used both as targets and/or outcome predictors for biomarker-driven, risk-stratified interventional clinical trials. We expect to translate our findings into clinical benefits of lymphoma patients, such as improved molecular diagnostics and risk prediction, and molecularly tailored treatment options.

Our other disease models are follicular lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma. Particular focus is on the prognostic impact of tumor microenvironment and host factors on the outcome of patients in response to chemo- and immunochemotherapy.